The nominees you need to know

Your crib notes to the International Woolmark Prize line-up for 2015/16

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As the world’s most talented emerging designers prepare for round one of the International Woolmark Prize, it’s time to brush up on the names to know, now. Introducing the contenders representing six regions from around the globe.

ASIA

Asia International Woolmark Prize nominees

Finals: July 20, Shanghai

Menswear nominees:

FFIXXED STUDIOS (Hong Kong)

FFIXXED STUDIOS is a collaborative art and design project initiated by artist and designers Kain Picken and Fiona Lau. Their focus is the production of a fashion label that evolves alongside a range of other art and design-related activities.

The collections respond to the role clothing and objects play in constructing our daily lives, elaborating on a series of new and unexpected form of trans-functionality for everyday basics. FFIXXED STUDIOS utilise a range of high-quality natural fibres and highly personalised production techniques to address, transcend and stimulate a variety of social and domestic situations.  

HUI BY ERAN HUI (China)

After graduating from College of Liaoning institute of art and design, designer Eran Hui spent several years working with commercial brands before finally launching his own label HUI BY ERAN HUI in 2014.

HUI BY ERAN HUI presents a mix of European style cutting with American street fashion, combined with his choice of colours, fabrics and patterns.

liberum arbitrium (Japan)

Shinsuke Mitsuoka moved to the UK to study fashion design, graduating in 2010 from Nottingham Trent University.

Mitsuoka moved to Paris in 2011 and gained an internship at Atelier Gustavolins. Later, he worked on stage costumes for Fergie from The Black Eyed Peas.

Mitsuoka launched the first collection as liberum arbitrium for SS12 in London. The following year he returned to Japan to launch the brand as a menswear label.

MUNSOO KWON (South Korea)

Launched in 2011, MUNSOO KWON attempts to steer clear of the traditional saturated menswear market and build his designs based on neatly tailored modern silhouettes that are practical, yet maintain his own distinctive design.

Kwon’s aesthetic is faithful to proportions and carefully designed for an impeccable fit, while still using his unique detailing. Rather than overtly branding his pieces, MUNSOO KWON uses its signature split-open details on the back and special pockets on shirts to create a coherent brand representation.

Womenswear nominees:

CONSTANCE TSUI (China)

CONSTANCE TSUI is based on love. All pieces follow in the footsteps of traditional handcraft but inject new ideas to present a new way of creation.  

After completing seven years of study, including Art and Design at Raffles Design Institute and Fashion Design Womenswear at Central St Martins, Davidson joined Celine London as a ready-to-wear creative pattern designer. Returning to Shanghai in August 2012, Davidson launched his ready-to-wear label, unveiling is first collection for AW13.

DORIS Q (China)

Australian-Chinese designer Doris Qiu founded DORIS Q in 2012 after creating her first capsule collection, which sold out immediately.

The DORIS Q girl is sporty, chic and appreciates exquisite fabrics and playful constructions. DORIS Q’s aesthetic is creating future classics with the finest fabrics, combined with her signature architecture-inspired constructions, unique prints and sporty details. Qiu strives to develop new ideas for fabrics and construction, yet keeping its wearability and quality. Her careful selection of eco-friendly fabrics, prints and details has become the integral DNA to the label.

HEI LAU (Hong Kong)

HEI LAU is an eponymous womenswear label established in 2009. Draping is a strong essence of the brand, while the designs emphasise shapes and constructions. The inside details - a cut, a dart, a fold or a seam - has a story to be told.

The design details of HEI LAU ask you to look a little closer, and feel a little something extra.

J KOO (Korea)

J KOO was established in London, February 2010. The name of the brand derives from the initials of the two head designers Jinwoo Choi and Yeonjoo Koo.

Both designers studied menswear at Central Saint Martins where they gained insight to traditional British men’s tailoring techniques. The duo has incorporated their knowledge of menswear to establish a unique womenswear brand which mirrors the traditional tailoring techniques of menswear to create a classic yet contemporary look.

Jarret (Korea)

Designer Lee Ji-Youn stepped into the fashion scene and launched her label JARRET in 2009.

With a degree in both fashion and English literature, Ji-Youn’s study results in designs telling an East meets West story. She bases her designs on the Modernist trend and reflects this era's spirit, especially in silhouette styles and product detail. At the same time, Ji-Youn ensures that JARRET’s designs meet the practical needs of the everyday consumer and their lifestyles.

PINGHE (China)

Founded in September 2012 by Chinese-born Ping He, PINGHE is a London-based luxury womenswear label.

He’s creativity and vision was honed through her work for fashion houses such as Alexander McQueen. The label’s signature style derives from her belief in the 360° of fit. She designs with an inherent understanding of the female body, and creates garments that shape, flatter and empower, offering a level of comfort that inspires confidence.

PINGHE’s unique fabric and sculpting embroidery, combined with unconventional seams, create the most elegant and sought-after shapes.

TARO HORIUCHI (Japan)

Born in Tokyo, Taro Horiuchi moved to the UK when he was 14 years old. After graduating from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, and spending time in both Antwerp and Paris, Horiuchi returned to Tokyo focussing on the Made-in-Japan philosophy in fabric, texture and colour. In 2012 he won the Newcomer’s Prize at Japan’s Mainichi Fashion Grand Prix.

TARO HORIUCHI is a contemporary ready-to-wear label which draws inspiration from futuristic art collections and its artists, which Horiuchi describes as “capturing a part of modern age”.

WHOSTHAT (Hong Kong)

To Meiyi Cheung, fashion is more than just a passing trend. Fashion is a kind of affordable art, to be kept and treasured.

With her belief in ‘design without boundaries’, Cheung started her fashion and art collection under the brand WHOSTHAT in 2013, merging fine art into fashion by collaboration projects with artists. WHOSTHAT is positioned as a brand of wearable art and artsy fashion, featured by the creative use of material, attention to detail, garment structure, fine workmanship and collections of genteel contemporary style that fit into the needs of young-hearted city women.

AUSTRALIA

Australia International Woolmark Prize nominees

Finals: July 15, Sydney

Menswear nominees:

FROM BRITTEN P/L

Launched in 2010 by Alexander and Tim Britten-Finschi, FROM BRITTEN P/L creates a product that balances the line between fashion and functional design. Using the fundamentals of menswear design, FROM BRITTEN P/L conceptually and practically resolves ideas for today’s lifestyle and tomorrow’s man by creating an innovative product that is of high quality design, construction and fabrication.

The brand’s holistic and highly considered design process produces product that is designed down to the most intricate detail, striving to achieve perfect synergy between fashion, style and purpose.

HAN

HAN is an Australian fashion label with foundations formed on a harmonious mixture of refined minimalist architectural design crossed with classical construction.

Founded in 2012 by Khim Hang, the label’s design ethos promotes performance and longevity, with the designer internationally pairing down pieces with thoughtful precision and subtle perfection, ultimately evoking the chic found in simplicity.

HAN’s celebration of subtle perfection, with structural silhouettes and sleek tailoring, has resonated with the industry, achieving widespread acclaim from his peers.

P.JOHNSON

Born and raised on a Merino sheep station north of Adelaide, South Australia, Patrick Johnson trained in London and with a view to a better dressed (yet not over-dressed) man.

Partnering with his best friend Tom Riley, the duo established P.JOHNSON, which combines their passion for Italy and its inherent respect for dressing, with a passion for the ‘sweet life’.

PJOHNSON can be described as sartorial yet sporty, louche and comfortable, practical but fresh, everything Australian, everything relevant and everything elegant. It's sartorial with a distinctly coastal influence.

TYLER LOUIE

Australian designed and made, luxury menswear label Tyler Louie is the brainchild of good friends Sheridan Tyler and Louie Abboud.

Fusing streetwear with a traditional tailored fit, the label uses the finest fabrics from across the world to blend high-luxury fashion menswear with street attitude.
Born in Melbourne but raised in LA, creative director Sheridan heads up the design side of the brand, whilst Louie acts as managing director.

Womenswear nominees:

Ashkar Line

Ashkar Line is the creative collaboration from Tristan Melle and Jamie Ashkar. The pair met in 2013 merging their respective brands to create a directional yet commercial range, setting forth to offer something different.

Masculine with a feminine edge, Ashkar Line uses high-quality fabrics and finishes to create sophisticated clothing. Moving with the current market is so important to the pair and they plan to push the brand out to new markets and follow the global needs in clothing and manufacturing.

Bianca Spender

Bianca Spender launched her eponymous label in 2009 and continues to forge a reputation for intriguing modern clothes with a fiercely independent attitude. Her collections are known to mix structure with fluidity, resulting in looks both sophisticated yet spirited. Intelligent pieces often draped from a single piece of cloth are an important source of inspiration.  

Of paramount importance to Bianca in the design process is finding a sense of balance. Clothes that combine both strict constructions yet have ease and movement.  Shapes are innately feminine, sensual and confident. Colour is applied in bold strokes.

CELESTE TESORIERO

After a five-year career designing for various international labels, Celeste Tesoriero launched her eponymous label. Celeste’s raw, effortless design aesthetic lies at the core of every collection with a focus on the finer details and all that is classic and luxurious. Celeste draws on time-honoured Japanese tailoring in the creation of her designs, a theme evident across her collections.

2014 saw Celeste move to a strong focus on sustainability and the use of organic fabrications and procedures, working in a way in which reflects her personal morals.

Elissa McGowan

Drawing from the natural landscape and citing art as a key source of inspiration, Sydney-based designer Elissa McGowan is artistic and fluid, yet refined in her eponymous label’s aesthetic.

With an interest in fabrication and textile development, Elissa McGowan is becoming recognised for its exploration of surface techniques. Custom fabric development is a focus for the label, having developed exclusive fabrications with European textile mills.

Inspirations are referenced through the label's signature laser cutting technique, painterly digital prints and a soft, feminine colour palette.

HARYONO SETIADI

HARYONO SETIADI is a Sydney-based fashion designer synonymous for his meditative exploration of precision tailoring, innovative fabrication treatments and unprecedented inventiveness.

Earning widespread international acclaim after debuting Australia’s first 3D printed collection in AW 2011, Haryono has ridden the crest of an ever-increasing wave of critical and commercial success including winning the 2011 Chambord Shine Awards and the DHL Fashion Export Scholarship in 2012.

At Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week April 2014 HARYONO SETIADI presented his ‘Active’ collection which explored the ambient fluidity of water, rugged coastlines and rich sunset hues.

Rebecca Vallance

Rebecca Vallance has firmly established herself as a new talent on the international scene. Since showing on-schedule at New York Fashion Week in February, 2014 Rebecca Vallance has become one of Australia’s latest fashion exports.

Signature to Rebecca’s collections is her structured tailoring and luxurious fabrications which combined with a global aesthetic have seen her pieces become a favourite amongst style icons, celebrities and top models. Rebecca Vallance continues to develop a distinct presence both throughout Australia and abroad.

BRITISH ISLES

British Isles International Woolmark Prize nominees

Finals: July 3, London

Menswear nominees:

A. SAUVAGE

Adrien Sauvage is a London-born designer, director and photographer of Ghanaian descent. With no formal training, Sauvage set out to create a collection that reflected his personal philosophy ‘Dress Easy’. His vision was to marry luxury and sophistication with accessibility and minimal effort.

In January 2010, Sauvage launched his first collection, 'This Is Not A Suit'. The collection received critical acclaim with the Evening Standard describing Sauvage as "the future of British Menswear", and the Observer declaring, "This Is Not A Suit, it's a way of life".

Agi & Sam

With a strong emphasis on entirely bespoke textiles and humour, Agi & Sam believe that fashion should never be taken too seriously, whilst aiming to sit firmly in the middle of brands that fear creating something different, and those which push collections too far.

Agi Mdumulla and Sam Cotton met in 2008 whilst interning for Alexander McQueen. After growing frustrated with the then current economic climate and the lack of jobs, they decided to work together, launching their debut collection in September 2010 at London Fashion Week.

LEE ROACH

Lee Roach is an English-born designer based in London. The LEE ROACH brand was established following his graduation from Central Saint Martins in 2010.

The brand creates an aesthetic that combines traditional distinctive menswear elements with a new, refined minimalism. LEE ROACH produces non-restrictive menswear, creating garments that possess sophistication through the process of reduction, eliminating all superfluous components.

The LEE ROACH collections are presented during London Collections Men and showcased internationally as part of the London Showrooms.

Womenswear nominees:

FYODOR GOLAN

FYODOR GOLAN is a London-based label with a distinctive visual language. The design duo, Fyodor Podgorny and Golan Frydman, infuses an expressive approach with clean geometrical silhouettes and sportswear aesthetics into modern luxury womenswear. Playful adolescent aesthetics and pure colour combinations create a striking and psychedelic image. Manipulating materials through new technology brings to life distinctive textiles and 3D embroideries.

FYODOR GOLAN collections encompass a wardrobe for today’s global, modern and iconic women; seductive, fragile and fearless.

J. JS LEE

Korean-born Jackie JS Lee moved to London in 2005 and graduated from her MA course at Central Saint Martins in 2010. That same year Lee launched her eponymous label, J. JS LEE, featuring sleek and chic androgynous pieces in tailoring. She is ever-conscious in her pursuit to strike a clean and crisp balance between tailored silhouettes that flatter the feminine body.

With her first collection, she won NEWGEN SS11 and she has been showcasing her collection as part of the on-schedule programme at London Fashion Week.

Phoebe English

Phoebe English is a luxury womenswear label creating garments with an attention to precision and beauty. Construction forms the centre of her design philosophy, which embraces an uncompromising consideration to highly laboured textiles.

The intricate balance between craft and design remains at the heart of each collection, with English returning to lost, forgotten and little-used techniques.

The Phoebe English label is proud to be entirely ‘Made in England,’ with fabrics sourced in the UK as much as is possible.

Teatum Jones

Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones are the designers of London-based womenswear brand Teatum Jones, a label which has become recognised for its modernist approach to elegance and which targets a super smart, confident and creative woman.

Teatum Jones offers a modern wardrobe made up of striking tailoring, relevant shapes and bold, modified exquisite fabrics. It is these consistent, post-traditional design principles that put them on the BFC’s London Fashion Week schedule.

Thomas Tait

Thomas Tait’s ready-to-wear label demonstrates a unique combination of structure and fluidity, lending a clear aesthetic to the garments and footwear he conceives for his eponymous womenswear label.

Tait rose swiftly to prominence in London and important critics immediately championed him because of the directional refinement and considered detail that is integral to his designs.

The Canadian-born designer became the youngest student to graduate from the womenswear MA programme at London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design at the age of 22.

EUROPE

Europe International Woolmark Prize nominees

Finals: July 13, Antwerp

Menswear nominees:

Armoire d´homme (Denmark)

Armoire officielle was established in Copenhagen in 2012, launching the first Armoire d´homme collection in autumn 2013, by Creative Director Kjetil Aas.

Steeped in Scandinavian design traditions, Armoire d´homme embraces timelessness and functionality, taking classic pieces and re-interpreting them in a contemporary context.

Armoire d´homme does not regard sustainability and ecology as a passing trend or phase, but more like an attitude that underlies all design.

CHRISTIAN PELLIZZARI (Italy)

After building his reputation at fashion houses in Italy and France, Christian Pellizzari launched his eponymous label three years ago with the aim to create a 24-hour wardrobe suitable for every occasion.

The CHRISTIAN PELLIZZARI man has a fun sense of spirit - one who loves life during the day and then goes out at night wanting to have fun.

"I like to describe my style as a continuous contamination, a mix of sartorial pieces, sportswear, evening wear and casual garments,” explains Pellizzari.

Harmony (France)

“Simple is sublime” is the design mantra for the minimalist, self-educated Parisian designer David Obadia, who launched Harmony in 2014 with a vision of the contemporary and effortless Parisian wardrobe through architectural shapes and luxury fabrics. Harmony aims to dress men of all ages with super simple yet exquisite monochromatic garments.

Finding his inspiration in contemporary arts or in the minimalist approach of the late-90s, Obadia is simply expressing the casual elegance of his beautiful Parisian street muses.

Giray Sepin (Turkey)

Since entering the fashion industry in 2003, Giray Sepin has built up a healthy resume working with major brands and on exclusive projects.

Launching his eponymous label in 2014, Sepin continues his design adventure with his own brand as well as his position as head menswear designer at Mudo Collection.

He presented two collections as part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Istanbul. His first AW 14/15 collection ‘Debut’ identifies the rhythm from a music piece. The Roman sea god Neptune inspired his SS15 collection.  

IVANMAN (Germany)

The Berlin-based IVANMAN brand was established four years ago, combining old classic pieces and transforming their feel with an ironic nod towards the zeitgeist.

Designer Ivan Mandzukic founded the label with his own understanding of shape and form. The colours he chooses both complement and contrast one another.

Oversized shapes interact with closely fitting silhouettes, traditional bespoke tailoring is introduced to sportswear, neoprene is used alongside pure new wool and magenta meets fir-tree green. Despite a focus on such unexpected contradictions, the pieces retain a traditional silhouette that makes them highly wearable.

Jonathan Christopher (The Netherlands)

Jonathan Christopher (Hofwegen) Celestial Risher is a menswear designer who graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy in 2009. With his graduation collection he was nominated for the Drempelprijs in 2009 as well as for the Talent of 2009. Hofwegen won the Public award during the Academy in 2009.

He followed his MA at ArtEZ. In 2012 he was selected by Marc Jacobs to be one of the five finalists for the young talent award Designer for Tomorrow. He was also awarded the Henri Winkelman Young Creative Entrepreneur of 2013.

MariusPetrus (Belgium)

MariusPetrus is a menswear label by Belgian designer Marius Op ’t Eynde, based in Antwerp. Inspired by experience at Raf Simons and Alexander McQueen, the decision was made to start his label in 2012 and the first (SS13) collection was presented at Berlin Fashion Week.

MariusPetrus brings strong, masculine collections, revolving around graphic shapes and architectural, fully in-house designed graphic prints. The line is created with a focus on contrasting materials, creating a luxurious but young aesthetic, balancing between streetwear and tailoring.

Pavel Ivancic (Czech Republic)

Czech born Pavel Ivancic graduated from Central Saint Martins College in London. His graduate collection opened the CSM MA show at London Fashion Week in 2007 and his work was published in a number of high-profile international publications.

In 2011 he established his eponymous label Pavel Ivancic, specialising in menswear, and since 2012 Pavel has worked as the director of Fashion Design Studio at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design Prague.

ETXEBERRIA (Spain)

Spanish designer Roberto Lopez Etxeberria launched ETXEBERRIA in 2010, specialising in men’s fashion.

Debuting in 2011 at Madrid Fashion Week, ETXEBERRIA won the L’Oreal Award for the best collection for both his AW and SS lines. This success saw the brand invited to show at international fashion weeks, showcasing his AW11/12 collection in Vienna and New York City.

Since then, ETXEBERRIA has travelled to key international cities to showcase each collection and has secured a regular space at MBFWM, launching at New York Fashion Week SS15.

Womenswear nominees:

Asu Aksu (Turkey)

Hailing from Istanbul, the brand Asu Aksu is practical, uncomplicated and natty all at once. Minimal designs, constructed with superb materials, present a rich and layered narrative. Collections are comprised of items meticulously produced in İstanbul by local craftsmen using natural fibre-based fabrics. Every piece adds its little detail to a growing narrative, giving voice to ecological concerns and a longing for a more pure, more enjoyable life.

Graduating from Istanbul Fashion Academy in 2008, Asu Aksu in 2011 started her own label and joined various projects, festivals and fashion shows, including Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Istanbul.

BOBBY KOLADE (Germany)    

Bobby Kolade was born in Sudan in 1987 to German-Nigerian parents and grew up in Uganda before moving to Germany in 2005, completing a fashion design course at Berlin’s The Academy of Arts 2013.

Launching an eponymous label, BOBBY KOLADE is eccentric chromaticity, an extraordinary interaction of textures and excellently tailored trouser suits and coats. The design process at BOBBY KOLADE often begins with a specific place in mind, invigorated with colour and spontaneity to create a wardrobe that encourages individuality in dressing. Whereas this ‘place’ may vary from season to season, the person in mind is unwaveringly pert and elegant, fast and curious.

Capara (Belgium)

Capara was founded in Antwerp in 2009 by sisters Vera and Olivera Capara. Born in Sarajevo, raised in Ludwigsburg, Germany, they both came to Antwerp and graduated in fashion in 2000 from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

The aspiration of the label Capara is to communicate a coexistence of a designed visual world, an atmosphere translated in fashion accompanied by words, stories and statements.

The love of experimenting and searching for new shapes and proportions within recognisable garments is the utter goal. Developing new technics in fabric research is a further focus and accompanies the concept of the collections.

“COMEFORBREAKFAST" (Italy)

In 2010, Antonio Romano and Francesco Alagna gave life to an independent project with a strong and distinctive identity. Marked by an international outlook and an innovative aesthetic, the label draws from the eclectic stimuli of urban cultures.

Streetwear codes combine with meticulous attention to detail, resulting in minimal design, well-defined silhouettes and an ultra-modern take on couture fundamentals.

The duo’s unique knitwear comes to life through a careful selection of materials and the development of exclusive silkscreen prints, defining a new kind of elegance.

CristaSeya (France)

CristaSeya is a transversal lifestyle project which launched in Paris in April 2013. Two fashion editors, Cristina Casini and Keiko Seya, one Italian and the other Japanese, both stubbornly hidden behind the scenes, are the instigators.

CristaSeya creates special timeless clothes and objects that are relaxed, natural and simple to use. Lines are effortless to let the beauty and quality of materials speak for themselves.

Freya Dalsjø (Denmark)

Freya Dalsjø is a Copenhagen-based fashion line. It was founded by Freya in 2012 following her return to Copenhagen after studying fashion at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.

The ready-to-wear collections provoke reflection by Freya's uncompromising approach to fashion, her signature aesthetics of combining conflicting colours and creating daring silhouettes with an emphasis on high-quality materials and craftsmanship - long-lasting in style and quality.  

Juan Vidal (Spain)

Juan Vidal is part of a family of tailors who have been working with textiles for four generations, specialising in prêt-à-porter and made to measure for women. Juan Vidal's woman is elegant and sophisticated, appreciates the small details, the craftsmanship and also the exclusivity.

Juan's collections are very much focused on the detailing, something that emerges from his fine art education/background (use of colour, volume, cut and concept). This is evident in Juan's embroidery and appliqué workmanship as well as other virtuous techniques.

NANNA VAN BLAADEREN (The Netherlands)

The designs of Nanna van Blaaderen are as gentle to the skin as they are to the environment. She blends techniques and innovation to develop textiles and fashion designs which integrate elegance, comfort, quality and functionality. She aims to contribute to our environment by using natural, renewable materials such as Merino wool.

During her studies in fashion design and fashion forecast Nanna van Blaaderen became intrigued by the enormous potential of knit design and founded her eponymous label in 2011.

INDIA, PAKISTAN & MIDDLE EAST

India, Pakistan & Middle East International Woolmark Prize nominees

Finals: July 22, Dubai

Menswear nominees:

Republic (Pakistan)

For designer Omar Farooq, menswear is all about style and the opportunity one has to express himself through clothes.  After learning the art of cutting, construction and suit making at BESPOKE TAILORS, Farooq took his knowledge back to Pakistan and launched Republic in 2009.

Engaging with a wide range of clients, Republic takes pride in offering a 100 per cent bespoke service, sourcing the finest fabrics from Italy and the UK.

In 2012 Republic won the Lux Style Awards for best menswear designer, and has been nominated for the same award a further two times.

SUKETDHIR (India)

Trained at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi, Suket Dhir started his eponymous label in 2009.

Dhir’s aesthetic is best described as Indo-centric western menswear, with a distinctive classic look. This design sensibility is achieved through the synergistic union of regional artisanal techniques with western silhouettes and cuts in exquisite indigenous fabrics.

Old school tailoring and finishing processes add to the level of luxury, with SUKETDHIR garments crafted from exclusive natural, eco-friendly fabrics.

Thamanyah (UAE)

Working in the luxury fashion industry for over 9 years, Ahmed Abdelrahman founded luxury East-meets-West menswear label Thamanayah.

Thamanyah began as a bi-cultural take on the masculine wardrobe of the early post-oil generation of the United Arab Emirates, with Ahmed seeking to evolve the traditional garb of the UAE.

Masculine allure influenced by lines and volumes of the male wardrobe of the Arabian Peninsula is reinforced by details of Italian bespoke tailoring and the label touches one the four main pillars that define everyday life in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.

Womenswear nominees:

AKAARO (India)

AKAARO’s basic philosophy is the continuing focus on fabric as the starting point and the importance of design process/handlooms for the development of new technology in which to make clothing. Delhi-based label is the brainchild of Gaurav Jai Gupta.

Gupta strongly believes in the power of making and is passionate about handlooms and empowering craftsmen at a grassroots level. He endorses skill development amongst craftsmen to strengthen and develop a self-sustainable working model.

Bashar Assaf (Lebanon)

Bashar Assaf is a Beirut-based Lebanese fashion designer. His garments tend to accentuate the female body with sophisticated yet demure silhouettes, solid colours and clean cuts. This tendency was instilled during his days living in Saudi Arabia where women’s garments lacked definition of the female form.

In December 2012 Assaf was chosen as one of the Starch Foundation’s designers where he produced three collections. He was also nominated by Elle Style Awards for “Best Upcoming Fashion Designer in the Middle East” that year.

Bleach (UAE)

Bleach is an Emirati lifestyle label that was established to express the many roles of a modern woman - bleaching the boundaries between convention, style and modern practicality.

Originally studying car design, Budreya Faisal’s passion for fashion design was ignited whilst living in Milan. After anonymously launched a small label online to test the market, Faisal found success with her designs and Bleach was born.

Bleach is recognised by women who dress outside the box and the designs are well noted for their minimalist, eccentric and innovative style.

Mira Hayek (Lebanon)

Mira Hayek is a Beirut-based contemporary sportswear designer who launched her first ready-to-wear collection in 2011.

The Mira Hayek brand is dedicated to dynamic women with an effortless sense of style. Each of the collections is unique and inspired by vivid themes drawn from contemporary to street art. Loose silhouettes, geometric patterns and colour blocks as well as texture combinations are key elements in Mira’s designs, giving these pieces the perfect balance between comfort and playfulness.

Misha Lakhani (Pakistan)

Misha Lakhani is a ready-to-wear and haute couture label born out of Karachi in 2011. Driven by a celebration of craftsmanship and heritage, the brand is always looking to reinterpret the traditions of handwork and couture techniques. Expect an eclectic mix of old crafts and modern ideas.

Misha’s work is characterised by a fusion of styles, layered looks, contrasting textures, unique embellishment and a vibrant colour palette. Her creations are nostalgic yet current, reflecting the diverse cultures of the cities in which she has lived, including Boston, New York and London.

NACHIKET BARVE (India)

NACHIKET BARVE stands for modern, progressive design that’s clever yet commercial, timely yet timeless. Creating his own textiles, using a plethora of indigenous techniques, Nachiket has a distinct look that is effortless, chic yet extremely refined. The look of the range is international, while the elements that go into making it are Indian.

Unique storytelling, unusual use of colour, a modern interpretation of Indian techniques and textiles and innovative luxury are the DNA of what makes the NACHIKET BARVE label unique and a harbinger of the future of innovative design.

Sania Maskatiya (Pakistan)

A textile design graduate of the prestigious Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi, Sania Maskatiya joined hands with business partner and director Umair Tabani in 2010 to create a distinctive, eponymous, clothing label that has captured the fashion industry by storm.

The Sania Maskatiya brand is best known for its versatile, specialised prints and textile design based on pure fabrics, unique colours, and fine craftsmanship. The label employs its own in-house printing, embroidery and stitching units with a dedicated team of talented textile graduates.

Taller Marmo (UAE)

Taller Marmo is a Dubai-based womenswear brand founded in 2013 by designers Riccardo Audisio and Yago Goicoechea. The duo met while studying at Istituto Marangoni in Milan and decided to create Taller Marmo.

Taller Marmo, as a concept, was born in Italy to be based in Dubai: A bridge between the European elegance and the Middle Eastern charm. Inspiration is drawn from the conversation between the nostalgia of the past and from contemporary culture. Made in Italy, the brand’s collection merge minimalistic Italian tailoring with Arabic traditions.

USA

USA International Woolmark Prize nominees

Finals: July 21, NYC

Menswear nominees:

CADET

Established in Brooklyn in 2011 by Raul Arevalo and Brad Schmidt, CADET is inspired by the post-war military academy era. CADET is a full menswear collection of suiting, shirts, pants, outerwear and knits that captures the spirit and nostalgia of 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

CADET is a student of precision, focusing on quality and clean lines for a crisp aesthetic that honors classic silhouettes while continuing to push menswear design forward with innovative fabrications and techniques.

David Hart

David Hart spent several years working in the fashion industry, honing his eye for sartorial craftsmanship and exploring his interest in the history of American sportswear, whilst continuing to cultivate his own aesthetic. Hart launched his first full ready-to-wear collection in 2013 under the label David Hart.

Hart prides himself on creating confident yet approachable clothing for the modern gentleman. With every collection, Hart consistently lends a modern eye with a nostalgic twist. Each piece is infused with history and classic details that come to life in a fresh way.

Lucio Castro

Born in Argentina, Lucio Castro is a menswear designer based in New York City. The label focuses on clean and ethical production, offering contemporary menswear with attention to texture, unique fabrics, and masculine proportions.  What remains consistent season-after-season is the line’s cinematic spirit, stemming from Castro’s passion for filmmaking and interest in building character through clothing.

After completing degrees in both medicine and film writing/direction, Castro moved to New York in 1999 to study fashion design at Parsons School of Design, where he was nominated for “Designer of the Year” for his thesis collection four years later.

SIKI IM

Exploring the boundaries of institutional and conventional fashion and craftsmanship, German-born Siki Im strives to re-evaluate the existing landscape of high-end menswear. The brand is indeed an exercise of exploration of traditional tailoring.

The conceptual, visual and tactile influence can be felt in SIKI IM’s carefully hand-tailored, artisan suits - employing the highest levels of craftsmanship and using the highest quality fabrics that embody the modern and refined aesthetic that will be the signature of the brand.

Thaddeus O’Neil

Thaddeus O’Neil is a menswear label of American luxury playwear for après surf, inspired by the hobos of the sea. Made in New York City, the line features bold prints, bright colors and rich textures, constructed of the highest quality materials.

Aiming to strike a perfect balance between luxury and comfort, the Thaddeus O’Neil man understands that true luxury is the touch of nature and real refinement born of his creative movement within the world.

Womenswear nominees:

Chris Gelinas

Canadian-born Chris Gelinas is a New York-based womenswear designer. Gelinas challenges conventional approaches to design through a commitment to rigorous technical development and innovation, working to bridge the gap between pioneering techniques and the classic convention of luxury and femininity.

Gelinas has been quickly recognized for his innovative approach and attention to detail, creating and producing much of his collection in New York with the highest level of skill and craftsmanship.

KAELEN

Kaelen Haworth is a Canadian living in and running her eponymous label in New York City.

KAELEN launched with a collection shown during New York Fashion Week in 2010. Designing from a minimalist perspective with a focus on subtle details, KAELEN seeks to combine the traditional and innovative, exploring the dichotomies of masculine and feminine, classic and modern. KAELEN strives to create pieces that are at once intelligent, archival and treasured.

NELLIE PARTOW

NELLIE PARTOW's effortless and alluring approach to refined minimalist ready-to-wear garners devotees of eminent women worldwide. Its aesthetics attribute to Nellie Partow's strong-spirited and cultural upbringing.

With nearly 10 years of design experience under her belt, Partow decided that the time had come to develop her own label and fill a niche in the market. She launched her namesake luxury collection in Fall 2011, and has since built a reputation for impeccable finishing, innovative fabrics, and distinctive design aesthetic.

Novis

New York native Jordana Warmflash is the founder and designer of women’s ready-to-wear brand Novis.

Warmflash is recognized as an innovator in combining unconventional colors, bold, original prints and unique textures with feminine, tailored silhouettes. The Novis aesthetic is vibrant and sophisticated, Each Novis collection exhibits precise tailoring, detailed finishing, luxurious fabrics and unexpected palettes.

Warmflash’s fascination with the architecture and construction of each garment, her passion for unusual color and texture combinations and her commitment to quality are the foundation of Novis’ brand identity.

Tanya Taylor

Canadian-born Tanya Taylor launched her eponymous collection in 2012 after graduating from a summer fashion course at Central Saint Martins and then the AAS Fashion Studies program at The Parsons New School of Design.

Designed in New York City, Tanya Taylor embodies a youthful spirit with the integrity of a designer point of view. Each collection is inspired by the power of simple feminine shapes, which are enhanced with an artful use of color, and feature prints that express a sense of optimism and ingenuity.

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